The Africa Health Budget Network, (AHBN), through its Coordinator, Dr. Aminu Magashi has advocated for reactivation of holding bi-monthly engagements with members of the media to discuss and inform Nigerians of developments in the health sector.
This is contained in a Press Statement signed and Issued by the Welfare/Public Relation Officer of the Association of Nigerian Health Journalists, (ANHEJ) Mr Kazeem Biriowo
According to the Statement the practice is to help enhance feedback with the populaces, as well as, engenders accountability adding that the bi-monthly briefing was introduced by the Federal Ministry of Health in partnership with AHBN to provide platform for update on developments around efforts to contain COVID-19, Lassa Fever, routine immunization coverage, reproductive health initiatives among others.
The Statement also stressed the need to sustain the gains of the bi-monthly media interactions where the ministers, permanent secretary, heads of departments and agencies in the health sector, including private sector players communicate with the masses through the media.
It further appealed to the coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Dr. Ali Pate, the Minister of State for Health, Dr. Tunji Alausa and the Permanent Secretary, Daju Kachollom, among others to see to its reactivation.
“The last 2 years ago, we have been supporting the bimonthly press briefing at the Ministry of Health, and we found that meeting productive and engaging in the sense that the Minister of Health and all the head of MDAs with the Chief Executive Officers in the health sector will sit down in every two weeks or every month to provide updates of what us going on in the health sector in Nigeria about COVID-19, health security, family planning, and so many in the country.”
“Engaging the media on a quarterly basis has become productive and, at the same time, very useful to Nigerians whereby we know what is going on in every aspect of our healthcare system.
“That have become a transparent and accountable process where ministers provide update and the CEOs of the health sector.”
“I think it’s important to revive that press briefing with the coordinating minister of health, the minister of state, and SA to the president on health to provide updates.”
“When the political players talk to the media, in the bimonthly meeting, indirectly, they are talking to Nigerians because it is through the media that ordinary Nigerians would get updated.”
“I call on the new Minister of Health, Dr Muhammad Ali Pate, and all his team to activate that regular press conference.”
It also applauded President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for his initiative of adding the Social Welfare arm to the Ministry of health, which according to him, will better the health outcomes for Nigerians, since welfare plays a big role in the wellness of the populace.
Earlier, the President of ANHEJ, Comrade Joseph Kadiri, in the Press Statement also thanked AHBN for its steadfast support through the years
He also pledged the new leadership’s readiness to work closely with AHBN in order to provide visibility to the work they do over the years and appealed that AHBN extends its usual support to the new EXCOs.